Paying it Forward: Strengthening Coordination Between Stakeholders
Mr. Lafama Prosper Thiombiano serves as the Prosecutor of Faso at the Koudougou Prosecutor’s Office, located in Burkina Faso’s Boulkiemdé Province, around 75km west of the country’s capital, Ouagadougou. He serves as the key point of contact for all terrorism-related cases in his jurisdiction with the Judicial Unit specialising in the fight against terrorism, based in Ouagadougou, where he previously served. He completed the first francophone eCTAC course (November – December 2020), and immediately put into action what he had learned in both his daily practice and in the framework of police-justice coordination.
Following the eCTAC, he sent a criminal guidance note to the judicial police in his jurisdiction to establish a consultation framework. A key takeaway from the eCTAC course, the consultation framework is an important step in improving coordination between investigators and the Public Prosecution Office. He also turned what he had learned on evidence-gathering and the importance of procedural safeguards in compliance with human rights into a number of successful investigations under his authority.
Inspired by, and determined to pay forward, what he had learned during the eCTAC, Mr. Thiombiano then sought and obtained the support of the Burkina Ministry of Justice to organise an important coordination meeting in September 2021. This first of its kind meeting will bring together key stakeholders in the fight against terrorism including experts, judicial police officers, forensics, victims’ associations and human rights defenders, with the aim of strengthening the protection of human rights. The meeting will integrate the latest reforms of Burkina Faso’s criminal and criminal procedure codes, as well as the internationally-recognised good practices he learned during the eCTAC, including inter alia the GCTF’s Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector and The Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offenses. Mr. Thiombiano conceived this meeting as not only an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss and share their challenges and to identify synergies and opportunities, but also to serve as a platform through which to develop an annual plan based on common objectives and assessments to strengthen Burkina Faso’s judicial response in the fight against terrorism.
In the words of this Alum, the eCTAC course’s innovative learning approach and curriculum not only helped build his skills, but led to and inspired a series of steps to share what he had learned and build further capacity and cooperation at the institutional level. What a great example of how capacity-building and investments in our criminal justice practitioners can strengthen the effectiveness of the broader judicial response! Thank you for sharing your story with us, Mr. Thiobiano!